The Poorest States in America

  • One Nation Under the Poverty Line

    The United States is quickly descending into poverty. In total, 42.9 million Americans (14.3% of the country) lived below the poverty line in 2009, an increase of 3.5 million from the year before, according to data released in September by the U.S. Census Bureau. By comparison, there were 37.3 million Americans living below the poverty level in 2007, prior to the worst part of the recession. During that time, the federal poverty level has remained fairly constant. In 2008, the poverty line for family of four was $21,200 and in 2009, it was $22,050. In fact, the Census Bureau found that the number of residents living below the poverty line increased in 31 states across the country last year, but did not decline significantly in any of the 50 states. It’s a grim picture to say the least. We rounded up the 10 states that have the most people living in poverty, by percentage of the total population, as well as Census data showing how many more people have fallen into poverty during the last year in each of these states.The numbers are based on annual surveys of households across the country conducted by the Census Bureau, adjusted each year for changes in the cost of living, as reflected in the Consumer Price Index. Photo Credit: Adrian Miles
    10th Poorest State: South Carolina
  • 10th Poorest State: South Carolina

    Total residents living in poverty in 2009: 753,739 (17.1% of population) Increase from previous year: 72,608 residents Photo Credit: Shoshanah
    9th Poorest State: Texas
  • 9th Poorest State: Texas

    Total residents living in poverty in 2009: 4,150,242 (17.2% of population) Increase from previous year: 358,673 residents Photo Credit: Paul Garland
    8th Poorest State: Louisiana
  • 8th Poorest State: Louisiana

    Total residents living in poverty in 2009: 755,460 (17.3% of population) Increase from previous year: 7,050 residents Photo Credit: The Pug Father
    7th Poorest State: Alabama
  • 7th Poorest State: Alabama

    Total residents living in poverty in 2009: 804,683 (17.5% of population) Increase from previous year: 93,478 residents Photo Credit: Southernpixel
    6th Poorest State: West Virginia
  • 6th Poorest State: West Virginia

    Total residents living in poverty in 2009: 313,419 (17.7% of population) Increase from previous year: 11,889 residents Photo Credit: bradwicklund
    5th Poorest State: New Mexico
  • 5th Poorest State: New Mexico

    Total residents living in poverty in 2009: 353,594 (18% of population) Increase from previous year: 21,145 residents Photo Credit: a4gpa
    4th Poorest State: Washington D.C.
  • 4th Poorest State: Washington D.C.

    Total residents living in poverty in 2009: 104,901 (18.4% of population) Increase from previous year: 6,231 residents Photo Credit: Ed Yourdon
    3rd Poorest State: Kentucky
  • 3rd Poorest State: Kentucky

    Total residents living in poverty in 2009: 777,295 (18.6% of population) Increase from previous year: 59,203 residents Photo Credit: jeremiah.andrick
    2nd Poorest States: Arkansas
  • 2nd Poorest States: Arkansas

    Total residents living in poverty in 2009: 527,378 (18.8% of population) Increase from previous year: 46,257 residents Photo Credit: StuSeeger
    The Poorest State in America: Mississippi
  • The Poorest State in America: Mississippi

    Total residents living in poverty in 2009: 624,360 (21.9% of population) Increase from previous year: 18,157 residents Photo Credit: rususeruru
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